In today’s modern world, where it is very important to look presentable all the time, flakes of dandruff peeping through scalp or falling off on shoulders could create a bad first impression and make the person look unhygienic. People may think that the person is careless and not concerned about his/her appearance, even though he/she might be taking good care of himself/herself. Also, the dry scalp may cause an irresistible urge to scratch and it may happen when the person is in the middle of doing something very important, for instance, meeting.
The people with scalp psoriasis can easily identify themselves with this situation. The visible flakes make them feel self-conscious, embarrassed and could lead to social withdrawal and low self-esteem.
What Is Scalp Psoriasis?
It is a form of psoriasis that affects the scalp. It is an autoimmune condition, where the skin cells multiply at a fast pace than they could shed, thus forming thick patches of silvery-white flakes over the red base. This is commonly observed along the margins of the scalp or in the scalp, behind the ears, and on the nape of the neck.
Scalp psoriasis is observed in people of both sexes and all age-groups. It affects people with dry skin, and the condition gets aggravated in the winter, due to the stress, streptococcal throat infection, smoking, alcohol intake, and eating red meat. Certain medications, such as painkillers, beta-blockers prescribed for high blood pressure, could aggravate it.
How To Manage Scalp Psoriasis?
The approach for successfully treating scalp psoriasis or any other form of psoriasis or chronic disease should be holistic rather than just treating the condition itself. It should be a combination of medicines, diet, and lifestyle changes as well as identifying and correcting or avoiding the trigger factors. Only then, the effect of any treatment could be long-lasting.
The first step to manage scalp psoriasis is to take treatment. Homeopathy is very effective for the treatment of scalp psoriasis, as it aims to correct the underlying autoimmune process that causes psoriasis. It, thus, helps to reduce skin turnover, flaking, inflammation, and redness. Also, the treatment helps to keep the disease under control and increases the duration where the scalp remains free of flaking. The treatment helps improve the person’s responses to stressful conditions which often act as the triggers for scalp psoriasis. Homeopathic medicines are gentle and safe and can be taken for a long time without side-effects. Also, homeopathy offers long-lasting results.
The next step in managing scalp psoriasis would be proper scalp care.
8 Helpful Tips for Scalp Care:
- Oil the scalp with olive oil at night. This will help to loosen up the flakes and they can come out easily during bathing. Oil also helps to keep the scalp moisturized, prevents dryness of the scalp, and helps reduce itching.
- Avoid taking a bath with very hot water, as it may damage the scalp and the hair.
- Take a head bath not more than 3 times a week.
- Use an herbal anti-dandruff shampoo. Cosmetic shampoos can make the scalp dry and, hence, increase the dryness and scalp irritation.
- Use a wide-tooth comb with rounded edges to comb the hair. A comb with rounded edges will not cause any damage to the scalp. Comb with sharp edges can cause injury to the scalp, and there would be chances that new lesions may appear.
- To remove the flakes entangled in the hair, you may, later on, use a normal comb.
- Always consult your doctor before doing any chemical procedures on your scalp, such as coloring, straightening, etc.
- Avoid picking the scabs or scratching it with your fingernails.
The third step in the management of scalp psoriasis is following a proper diet. A right diet rich in anti-inflammatory foods will help in the improvement in your relief in scalp psoriasis as well as in the enhancement of general health. A healthy diet will also help you have healthy hair too. A diet rich in fresh vegetables and fruits is encouraged. Here are some healthy foods which you should include in your diet.
- Flaxseeds: They are rich in omega 3 fatty acids that help to reduce inflammation Other food items rich in omega 3 fatty acids are pumpkin seeds and walnuts.
- Fish: Rohu, rawas, pomfret, bangda, catfish are non-vegetarian sources rich in omega 3 fatty acids.
- Have all the seasonal fruits and vegetables. While eating, make sure that you have colorful foods on your plate. Colorful foods are rich in a substance called flavonoids, which help to reduce inflammation.
Colorful food includes dark green vegetables, such as Amaranth, fenugreek, drumstick leaves, bell peppers, kidney beans, pumpkin, tomatoes, beetroot, melons, pomegranate, red and black grapes, papaya, mangoes and many more.
- Stop the intake of dairy products, as it promotes inflammation. You may have curd.
- Avoid processed foods, such as bakery products, products made of refined flour, and foods with preservatives.
- Avoid the intake of fatty food, which includes red meat.
- Avoid smoking and alcohol, as this increases the inflammation and thus cause flaking.
The fourth and last step in the management of Scalp psoriasis is managing your stress.
As mentioned earlier, stress plays an important role in triggering, maintaining, and aggravating psoriasis and I have witnessed it in a majority of scalp psoriasis patients that I have come across. Stress is a part of everyday life and cannot be eliminated. Instead, one has to learn to deal with it.
- Meditation can help you reduce your stress. You develop an ability to control your thoughts, and, thus, in times of stress, you will be able to replace negative thoughts with positive ones.
- People who find it difficult to meditate, pursuing a hobby, doing exercises, playing your favorite sport or playing with kids, and meeting friends can help improve your body’s response to stress which in turn can help to reduce the inflammation and flaking.
Hope you find these tips helpful. In case, you have any new helpful tips, you may share in the comments below to help others too.
- Written by Dr. Yafta S., Associate doctor to Dr. Rajesh Shah